HEPA filters have a minimum removal efficiency of 99.97% for all particles.30,49 Air can be recirculated through HEPA filters in areas in which no general ventilation system is present, an existing system is incapable of providing sufficient ACH or air-cleaning (particulate removal) without affecting the fresh air supply or negative-pressure system is desired.30,49
Small HEPA units, either fixed or portable, may be used to filter recirculated air in a room. Portable industrial grade HEPA units, sometimes referred to as Room Air Purifiers with a HEPA filter, are available that can filter air at a range of airflows. The quality of these units must be carefully analyzed by the hospital engineering department prior to purchase and use. Placement of the unit within the room must be specified by this department to ensure laminar airflow distribution and maximize air changes throughout the room. HEPA filters must be installed to ensure that air flowing through the unit cannot bypass the filter. Refer to the CDC guideline for additional details.49
HEPA filters typically last 5-10 years if a proper pre-filter to protect it from common environmental particles is used and maintained. HEPA filters require regular monitoring to ensure that the filter has not clogged, which will result in decreased filtering efficiency. For further information on HEPA filtration and details on safety issues when handling spent filters, refer to the CDC guidelines.49
Good practice statements
If the air from the room in which bronchoscopy is performed will be recirculated, or if the exhausted air could re-enter a building, it should be passed through a high-efficiency particulate air filter before being exhausted.
The use, maintenance and monitoring of high-efficiency particulate air filters should be according to manufacturer’s instructions where provided and under the direction of the hospital engineering department. The filters should be serviced at a minimum once per year or whenever a major event has occurred that could have influenced the functionality of the filter and airflow.
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